The following is an opinion piece written by YWCA Canberra’s Executive Director, Frances Crimmins in response…
Launching your own business can be one of the most exciting (and scary) things you’ll ever face.
We asked Bandit Design Group how they turned their side hustle into a thriving small business.
It seems like these days everyone is trying to turn a side hustle into a 9-5 or venturing out on their own. It’s an exciting world out there for creatives and small business. But with Instagram brimming with snaps of #girlboss inspo, and businesses that seem to have flourished overnight, it’s hard to know what’s really needed to get started—and how to keep going.
How do you kickstart a creative small business—and have it still kicking goals years later? According to Mikeila Scheckenbach, owner and Creative Director of Bandit Design Group, it’s about finding your core values and sticking to them—and building a great team around you.
Bandit Design Group is a creative full-service studio that offers a wide range of creative services, from brand identity to websites and packaging, photography, art direction and copywriting. In Mikeila’s own words—“we help businesses get locked and loaded on all things brand, web and packaging”. In Canberra, those brands include The Lab, Kate Lily Dressing Hair, Designer Op Shop Emporium, Thorson Photography and The Floral Society.
As Mikeila puts it, Bandit is “here to create killer design and have a good time while doing it.” But before her team worked with these brands—before the team even existed—hundreds of hours were put into Bandit’s creation by Mikeila herself. So what words of wisdom does she have for people in a similar situation?
We sat down with Mikeila to get the lowdown on how she made Bandit stand out from the crowd and how to build a creative business brick-by-brick.
TELL US THE STORY OF BANDIT DESIGN GROUP
Bandit was born in the chase of finding freedom and choice. It wasn’t born spontaneously or on a whim, it was born on purpose from a planned-out process.
I knew for a long time I wanted to start my own studio, but I knew I needed to gain know-how and experience, so I proactively sought out the opportunities which would eventually get me to launching Bandit.
After studying graphic design and web design and development at university, I launched into working as an inhouse designer. I went from studying and working in-house solo to working in-house within a design team, to working part time, all while freelancing.
After three years of freelancing on the side for many businesses around Canberra, on the side of my full-time job, I left my corporate job and turned my side gig and my passion into the real deal, officially launching Bandit Design Group in 2017.
Creating Bandit was about having freedom, choice and helping others. Whether it’s helping people in their own business or through being a part of ours, we want people to feel freedom and choice too.
Today, we are a tight-knit team of three, making tracks all over Australia and the globe, working with large-small businesses, with a vision to create killer brands and have a good time while doing it.
WHO IS BANDIT DESIGN GROUP NOW?
Bandit is a creative studio that bends the rules and doesn’t take no for an answer. Our ethos and services are built on helping others to live their best lives, do what makes them happy and be successful in that. Bandit doesn’t accept mediocrity and we’re not afraid to do something different.
As a creative studio we get to challenge the traditional ways studios and agencies work and to make up our own rules every step of the way. We have the ability to tweak and change things which we feel are outdated or don’t work as well as they could for our clients or team.
We are really passionate about creating a cultural change in the industry and it’s such a privilege to have the power to do that, so we take that pretty seriously.
Our team is ridiculously creative, collaborative and nimble, with a shared love and appreciation for all things design and business. Each team member brings their own enthusiasm, energy, background and experience to the table.
The result is a straight-up awesome gang of creatives who work together on every project, pushing each other’s creative limits to produce the best work for our clients.
WHAT SERVICES DO YOU OFFER?
Arming businesses with the tools to launch into the market with a bang, we are passionate about creating brands with depth, life and meaningful stories behind them.
We believe design has the power to transform ideas, deepen engagement and grow businesses in the right direction.
Our services go from taking your business idea from being just an idea, to being a full blown reality. Specialising in Brand Identity, Websites and Packaging, we also offer Brand Name Development, Digital & Print Design, Photography & Art Direction, Copywriting, Brand Workshops and Brand Consultations.
We have an amazing group of clients spanning over so many different industries, we’ve recently ticked over 100 clients which was a huge pinch-me moment.
Some recent stand-out clients have been Luna Bronze who are stocked in Mecca all around the country and globe, Luxey who are making a huge impact in the reusable cup market and Kerrie-Ann Jones Stylist an incredible Australian interior stylist and also the former style editor at Real Living magazine.
WHAT DO YOU DO DIFFERENTLY AT BANDIT AND HOW HAS THAT HELPED YOU STAND OUT?
We are an all gals team, we take on people’s businesses as if they are our own, handling clients and their businesses with the utmost care and kindness. We treat others how we want to be treated.
We are paving our own way to what we want our culture and way of doing things to look like. We are a flexible workplace and have the ability to work from anywhere in the world with anyone in the world!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE PEOPLE LOOKING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Since starting Bandit I have been met with a lot of advice and lessons, which I am so grateful for. A couple of my favourites are…
Ask for help and learn from those around you
There is so much help available out there and you will be surprised by how generous people are with their time and knowledge if you simply ask. Asking for and accepting help will help you grow faster than you could imagine.
Find your people
I have learnt how important it is to have a good team and support crew around you – the people who are in the arena with you and understand what you’re going through. It is no easy feat building a business. There will be times when you want to throw it all in the bin, move to a remote island and never answer an email ever again. And in those times is when you need your people around you to bring you back to reality.
Do it on purpose
Take the time to think through your values, services and purpose. This will set you up for growing a business which you love and serves you.
Find out more about Mikeila and Bandit at banditdesigngroup.com.au